Weekend Marks the End of Local Contenders in CIF Girls’ Water Polo

Despite outstanding defensive play, the La Cañada girls water polo team couldn’t get their offense rolling and lost to Yucaipa. Photo by Christian SCHMIDT

By Justin HAGER

The Crescenta-Cañada region had a lot to be excited about entering the second round of the CIF girls’ water polo tournament last Thursday. With four teams earning victories in the first round, including an incredible 22-1 victory by CIF at-large bid earner Flintridge Sacred Heart over Bell Gardens and a dominant 15-8 victory by Crescenta Valley over Diamond Bar, the energy around area swimming pools was palpable. Unfortunately, this is CIF-SS tournament play and every team participating has earned their place and is playing to win.

The first team to fall was Flintridge Prep, which was dominated on both sides of the ball by a heavily favored Oxnard. Oxnard is ranked in the top 50 teams nationally according to MaxPreps and just two days prior to their showdown with Flintridge Prep the Oxnard Yellowjackets took down Pasadena in a 22-6 rout. The Wolves didn’t fare much better, losing the match 20-4.

Simultaneously, over at the Glendale Aquatic Center the Crescenta Valley Falcons had sports reporters on upset alert as they entered the second half of their match against the No. 2 seeded Camarillo Scorpions, trailing by just three. Recognizing the opportunity at hand, the Falcons came out swinging in the second half, scoring quickly to bring the match to within two points. Unfortunately it would be the last scoring the Falcons would do as Camarillo went on to win 10-4, ending CVHS’ incredible season.

Further down the valley, at Notre Dame Sherman Oaks, Flintridge Sacred Heart was squaring off against JW North. The matchup was especially unique because both teams entered the tournament as at-large bids facing heavily favored opponents. Yet both teams won their first-round match in dominant fashion with FSH defeating Bell Gardens by more than 20 and JW North defeating West Valley 20-4. Only one team could move forward and, in the end, a nail-biting finish gave Flintridge Sacred Heart a 15-12 victory.

FSH advanced to the quarterfinal round along with La Cañada High School, whose 20-15 victory over St. Lucy’s three days earlier had earned them a direct path to the quarterfinals. Unfortunately, it would mark the end of the road for both teams. Flintridge fell to La Habra 12-7 while La Cañada was overwhelmed by Yucaipa 16-3, officially ending the girls’ water polo season for all local high schools.

CIF Southern Section girls’ water polo semi-final play was scheduled to continue on Wednesday, Feb. 16, but final scores were not yet available as of press time.